In our attempt to capture the stories of Faith@Work'ers, today we're taking a look into the life and story of the man, the myth, the legend: Jordan Hayes.
Two legends together: Steven and Jordan
What have you been up to since graduating?JH:
Finding a job, getting more involved in church, continued education, playing basketball, learning new rhythms of life, developing new community and connecting with old ones in new ways, and all in all try to figure out how to do this new season life...well :-) F@W:
What's been the biggest surprise, for better or worse?JH:
"For better": Finding a job in my career field of interest. How it happened is a whole other story, but it's truly a gift. (Deut. 8:18)
"For worse": You always hear about how dealing with the transition of community post-college can be difficult, but what surprised me was just how strong the sentiments of loneliness and purposelessness can be. I'm sure this doesn't happen for everyone, but it seems that many of the college-grads I've talked to have had to wrestle with this to some degree. "For worse" turns to "for better" because loneliness and questions of purpose point out my deep need for the Lord. Through these I'm compelled to "seek first God and His kingdom" and put secondary motivators in their rightful place. F@W:
What steps have you taken to figure out the REAL YOU and your calling?JH:
(1) Spending time away away from a formal leadership role. I don't think this is for everyone, but I needed to see where I was at with questions like "Where am I at with God without the commitments/structure of 'leadership'?" It was an important time, and enabled me to reengage leadership refreshed and re-centered.
(2) Through meeting others and learning about both what they do and what they love to do, I've come across things I'd have been passionate about long ago--if only I knew they existed! Example: A friend shared that she puts her public relations skills to work for a nonprofit children's reading campaign. I love reading, and value its role in the lives of kids and adults alike, but I had never connected the dots and considered acting on this passion by volunteering with a link-minded org. Now...maybe!
(3) (In process) Writing a mission statement. "Who am I/What do I want to be about?" It's easy to run circles in my head asking/answering these questions...putting it on paper forces clarity, and serves as a nice check point to see if I'm running in the direction I want to be, or if perhaps my values/vision have changed. F@W:
What's the biggest questions you're sitting with right now?JH:
"Can God be my everything?" By 'everything' I mean the foundation of my heart from which all other 'loves' stem. And the question isn't really "can He" so much as "what would it take for him to be"? F@W:
In what ways have you noticed God's presence in the workplace?JH:
I think day-in-and-day-out I see it in His Word redeeming my perspective of work. The difference between a day of joyful/wholehearted work (and rest) and fearful/mediocre day of work (and rest) is his Word...Significance/Integrity: "Work...as unto the Lord" (Colossians 3:23-24); Calling: "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance" (Ephesians 2:10); Identity: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast" (Eph 2:8-9); Rest: "Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done." (Gen 2:3). Of course it's important not to take passages out of context, but it's eye-opening to read Scripture in light of work! F@W:
What encouragement or advice would you give a college student just starting their senior year?JH:
I know that, for many seniors, post-college life seems either too far off to worry about or so near that it's overwhelmingly worrisome. The reality is...it's what next, and has to be dealt with sooner or later! To be honest, there's probably a lot to deal with: career, location, community, family, expectations, academics, applications, interviews, networking, money, success, failure, hope, disappointment. On that note, two quick pieces of advice:
(1) Start now. Because...you probably won't get it right the first time. It takes bombing 9 interviews to do the 10th one well, and it takes facing and processing fear in order to receive peace. So start stepping into whatever seems to be on the 1-year horizon for you, and embrace every step you take in this direction as an opportunity to learn, grow, and walk out a new, challenging, exciting part of life with God.
(2) DO IT IN COMMUNITY. As I was typing this, a friend happened to walk by and we shared the challenges we're each facing in the workplace. We talked about it for a few mins, considered what God had to speak into the situations, prayed, and both left encouraged in about 5 minutes. We don't have the same job, aren't in the same industry, and just met a couple months ago. But relationships like this enable us to encourage one another to keep moving forward and not give up on God's best for life after college and in the workplace.
(3) Connect with mentors (like Scott...or someone on the mentor portal
...or friends a year or two down the road...) who can support you in this season and shed hard-earned wisdom on walking it out well. Sure, you'll want to put your best foot forward. But there's no need to pretend like you have it all together. "I don't know what I don't know...What questions should I be asking?" is a GREAT place to start.
After spending a couple years focusing on helping graduating seniors make a good transition from student life to 'real life', it's time to start checking in with a few of them about their lives post-college.
Steven Yuan stands out as a guy doing his best to lean forward into living life well. He's passionate, creative, and very entrepreneurial. It's been a blast to watch Steven experiment with his career and throw out more than a few lines into the water to see what he catches. Enjoy this snapshot into his life, and take a few moments both to pray for Steven but also to reflect on what his life sparks in you:
SS: Tell us about your career path since you graduated from UCSD, specifically the twists and turns that you didn't expect or plan on when you were still in school:
SY: Since graduating, I've bounced from your typical office job doing graphic and web design, to campus ministry, to start-up competitions, to music production, to even my own t-shirt company. It's been a year of trying many different things, and feeling out my different passions.
I honestly think the most unexpected twists and turns came from the people I met. Just talking to people I normally wouldn't, and letting them know what I wanted to do, connected me with so many random people that took me down so many unexpected but exciting paths. One of the highlights was my friend Eileen, whom I met through a couple of mutual friends. She was extremely involved in the music industry and I didn't know anything about the SD music scene, but within a couple of weeks of sitting and chatting I was playing a show downtown, meeting all these crazy DJs and producers.
SS: What have you learned about yourself since graduating that you wish you knew back in school?
SY: I think the main thing I learned about myself was the entrepreneurial flair I have. I wish I knew that earlier before I embarked on pursuing a major in art haha, I think I would have joined a lot more clubs related to that as well.
SS: Being a creative type, how does your creativity intersect with your faith?
SY: Oh man where do I even begin? I think the idea of even being able to create is key component the the basis of my faith. I have been created by a God that loves creation. And because of that, I have been given the awe-inspiring right to create just like my maker can create. That is an mind-bending truth that He has instilled in me.
In addition, a big portion of my creativity stems from idea creation and making connections. So everywhere I go, I constantly see ways that Jesus connects in this way or that. Or I'll randomly think of new ways that people can encounter God and meet with Him. I feel as if my creativity intersects with my faith by allowing me to see how God Himself intersects with the world around me in unexpected ways.
SS: We know that God is into changing the whole world, but what's the specific slice that gets you fired up the most?
SY: There are many "slices" that move me, but I think the slice that gets me fired up the most is when people are redeemed of their sense of worth, and concurrently when people see what they are capable of in terms of loving others. I think a good example of this comes from my time doing campus ministry. One of the people on a team I was leading had come to faith his freshman year - I still remember speaking to him before he was a believer. While on media comma team his third year, a dream of his was to shoot a documentary about a thriving homeless community that worshipped and fellowshipped downtown on a regular basis. By the end of his time on the team, the dream had become a reality in the form of a 45 minute documentary detailing the lives of the homeless leaders and student leaders that had partnered together to make the fellowship a reality. Stepping back and seeing the transformation from when I first spoke to him freshman year to when he finished the documentary, I was blown away by how God had transformed this man to transform others. And I was blown away that I could be a part of that. This is just one for a few stories that really capture what gets me fired up. Stories of people realizing their potential to be used by God.
SS: What's challenged your faith the most since you graduated?
SY: The most challenging thing for me since I've graduated has actually been grappling with the feeling of needing to be accomplished in some shape or form. Often times, I feel like I don't have enough time to do the things I want to do, or I feel like I am falling behind in the goals I want to achieve. I feel that especially in our American culture of striving for excellence, I often get caught up in focusing my energy on my own abilities as opposed to focusing on what God is capable of. So I get discouraged easily when I compare myself to my peers who seem to be "farther along" in life than I.
SS: In what ways have you seen God use you to impact others through your work, and where do you feel like God might want to increase your influence?
SY: I think the most tangible example I have of God using me to impact others has been while I was doing music production and performance. The underground music scene wasn't necessarily a place of very much light, but I was able to bring of piece of that light just by being there and being a friend. There was one time when one of the local producers committed suicide and it rocked the music scene in San Diego. I was able to attend his memorial and though I didn't necessarily share the gospel to everyone, I was able to be there with his friends and his family to shed a bit of God's love and peace. In terms of where he might want me to increase my influence, I believe that he wants me to bring more of His presence into the office I work at presently. He's been calling me to be more relational with my co-workers and just get to know people. I feel like He's leading me through a season of what it looks like to be a co-worker that not only does his work well, but is also genuinely caring of the people he works with.
SS: What advice would you give for a college student getting ready to graduate and trying to figure out what to do? What should they consider when thinking about life after school?
- Try new and different things, you can't find your passion until you try it!
- Focus on where God is bringing you, not on where you need to be compared to your peers.
- Find an accountability group that can help you process and discern what God has been doing in your workplace
- Be attentive to the opportunities that God presents to you, whether that be in making relationships or in moving forward in your career.
- Pray daily, you will be able to hear God clearer.
- Take Sabbaths, you will not regret it. You are never too busy to spend time with God.
- Expect change, life after college is exactly that: Life after college. The 9 to 5 is very different than college life. Don't dread it, just be ready to adapt.
- Finally, rejoice in every circumstance! No matter what God is bringing you through, he is gonna bring you through it. Keep your eyes on the hope that is in Jesus Christ and you won't falter. "3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5
, I wrote about the crucial first week of work, when the office culture you're stepping into makes its biggest attach on the real You.
Now, I want to get even more specific (because a good friend of mine is starting his first full-time job....tomorrow!) Your first day of work is the most important day of your new life.
: you knew I was going to say that, didn't you? I don't just mean the obligatory "bless my day, Lord" prayer, I mean spending some time the night before and getting up extra early to sit and spend time in God's presence. Of course you should tell God about your anxiety and worries for the new job, but spend the bulk of your time trying to listen to what He's up to, what He's calling you to, and what it means to walk in harmony with His presence. Also, it would be a GREAT idea to ask a few close friends to pray for you throughout that first day, too. Get snappy
: this one's a surprise, right? I don't think it's unspiritual or heretical to admit that "the clothes make the man", and we feel
better and walk with confidence when we're dressed well. Maybe go out and spend a few (future) dollars the day before on an outfit that's going to help you feel good. Prepare questions
: you know you don't know anything. They know you don't know anything. So why spend energy pretending like you know? Prepare a few important questions, the obvious ones like, "What's expected of me today and this first week?", and the not so obvious but really obvious ones like, "Where's the best bathroom in the building?" or "How long do I have for lunch?" Asking good, inquisitive questions will speed up your learning curve, and help you gain the confidence that you need to get competent at your job. Initiate
: even though you're new, it's your opportunity to start new friendships with your co-workers. Initiate with them, both at the copier and water cooler but also by asking them to lunch. For more ideas, check out a great post by Eric Scofield
, Regional Director of Young Life in SoCal.
Your first day is so important. It sets the tone for the rest of the week, and your time working for that organization. Plan it out, don't just wing-it.
If you're about to start your job, what do you need to do to get ready?
For those of you who are already working, what do you wish you had done differently that first day?
Awhile back I was spending time with a recent grad early into his career and helping him think through his new rhythms of life and brainstorm how to continue to grow in his relationship with God.
His challenge: long, long hours at least five days per week if not six, and constant busyness and demands for his attention. In college, he had long hours of uninterrupted prayer times, spiritual conversations with friends, Bible studies, retreats, weekly worship services, and more. Now, he could barely wake up in time to shower, shave, and get out the door- getting home at night was about finishing the laundry and paying bills.
Can you relate?
Christians in the workplace share a common barrier to staying connected with God: time. There are deadlines, stress, projects, meetings and interruptions.
Carving out space before or after work to sit down, breathe slowly, meditate on scripture, and connect with God's presence through prayer is also extremely challenging. There are distractions and noises and sleepiness and traffic.
So what options do you have? Quit your job and enter a monastery? Tell your boss that from now on you need to focus on spiritual growth, so you'll be taking a half hour longer at lunch to pray and study the Bible?
Back to my friend. When we were trying to figure out his life and schedule, one thought popped up:
I said, "How many times a day do you go to the bathroom?" (yes, he looked at me strangely)
"Oh, maybe five, six, or seven times over the course of a long day. Why?"
I said, "Well, let's assume you have a couple minutes every time you go. Seems to me like that would be a great time to have a 'moment' with God."
So began the Potty Quiet Times.
A couple minutes a few times a day to take a deep breath, invite God's presence in, catch up your heart to where it's been over the past couple of hours, maybe repeat a scripture verse a couple times (or maybe even read a quick, short devotional on your phone), and invite God to lead you and guide you for the next couple hours.
Maybe it's a little unconventional, a little profane even. Or maybe a little creative...
It's rare to find someone who would admit to not wanting to experience God more regularly in daily and normal life. The fact is, experiencing the presence of God is what fuels our faith and ignites our passion for the things that God cares about. Being used by Him, seeing Him work through your prayers, receiving moments of supernatural coincidence- we hunger and thirst for more of those.
For many, though, there's a false belief about where and when we can experience God the most. We all tend to believe, and the message is reinforced at church, that God's presence dwells more in religious settings: worship services, retreats, quiet prayer times, small group meetings, housebuilding projects, etc.
Unless Jesus was lying (not a great premise to get yourself trapped in...!), his presence was and is available fully at all times and in all places.
But what about in the workplace?
Is it possible
to experience God-- in a cubicle
To encounter God and hear his voice-- while in a meeting
To see the fingerprints of God-- while staring at your computer screen
To experience more of God's presence, we need to be watchful
for Him to show up. Good, proper theology (thinking about God) would say God's presence is everywhere, always. To connect and tap into it, we must be mindful of him, consciously becoming more aware of Him and inviting Him to reveal Himself to you.
Many people have found it helpful to shoot for the Brother Lawrence or Apostle Paul goal of "praying without ceasing"- consciously offering more and more of your mind and heart to be tuned into the frequency of God.
An intermediate step could be to appoint regular times to pause and pray throughout the day, similar to what monks would do in a monastery. Put an alarm on your phone, or an appointment in your calendar.
A simple prayer and a minute or two might be all you need to reorient yourself to God, reconnect with His presence, and become more aware of what He's up to. I would HIGHLY recommend Pete Scazzero's website Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
, specifically his guides for daily prayer in your everyday life
What works for you to connect with God's presence more often and more powerfully? What do you need to do next?
Your first five days on the job are the most critical to getting started as the YOU you're supposed to be and want to be.
In my experience, once a week has past, it's really hard (or impossible) to shift back to the real YOU. So, take careful thought and intentionality to who YOU are, who YOU want to be, and how YOU want people to experience YOU.
1. Every office has a culture, and it is well established and stronger than you. Learn about it, be a cultural observer, ask inquiring questions about what's normal and how people behave. Note where you disagree, feel resistance, or don't like. Also, pay attention to what you do like, what is good, and what is healthy.
2. You can't change much, especially when you first get started. But hopefully you were hired well- you did your due diligence and so did they about whether or not you're going to be a culture fit.
3. Adapt to the rules and norms, fit in and be a team player. Most likely, people in your office will work longer hours than you feel necessary or important. Work the same hours they do, or even more. It builds credibility, stamina, and trust.
4. Decide what you will be different about, and stick to it. If you decide to be someone who doesn't complain or criticize (about the boss, co-workers, the system, clients, customers, traffic, etc), then don't do it. Ever. If you decide that you're going to be someone who goes above and beyond, maybe when other entry level employees don't, then do it, and keep doing it. Be consistent.
5. Pray for direction. If you believe God strategically places people in settings to be a unique gift and blessing, and if you believe God can and will use you in meaningful ways, then partner up with Him and what He's up to already. Pray for wisdom, guidance, a gentle spirit, tenacity, courage, and servanthood.
I know many recent grads are getting started with their first full-time job out of college. What are YOU going to do to stay consistent with who YOU are?
And, maybe people are feeling stuck in their jobs, not sure how to recalibrate and become the real YOU. What's the next step you can take to make a change?
I know you and I don't know each other very well. In fact, I never really got to know you during my interview process, and you certainly didn't really get to know me- besides what my resume says and the answers I came up with for my interview.
But, I'd really like to get to know you. And, I'd really like to give you my best. I'd like to grow here, to contribute, to make an impact, and add more value than you expect.
The thing is, I'm worried that you don't really know what I need, or what I want. So I thought I'd let you know. If you want to develop me and get the best from me, here are five things I need from you:
Teach me how. Let's be honest. You hired me for my potential, not for my skills. I don't really know what I'm doing, or how to do it well. Could you please teach me, train me, and show me how? I know it's going to take some extra time, but I think in the long run you and I will be much happier.
Correct me. I thrive off of frequent feedback- the more frequent, the better. Could you tell me when I'm off track, or even on track? Could you tell me if I shouldn't have spoken up more, or less, in the meeting? Could you let me know if you hear anything about me from our clients? Please, let me know how I'm doing.
Share "the why". I'm from a different generation than you, a generation that values meaningful work more than anything else- more than paycheck or perks. I really, really want to know why my contribution and work contributes to the value of the company. I really want to know why we do things the way we do. I want to know why the extra meeting is going to help us all work more effectively and efficiently.
Challenge me. Throw me in the deep end. Expect a lot from me- I'm used to it. My parents did. My coaches did. My professors did. And I will rise to the challenge.
Listen to me. I know that I'm new, but I've already seen a few things around here that aren't working very well. Technology that doesn't sync. Processes that are bulky and time wasting. I've observed cynicism and negativity and gossip. I would love to share things I'm seeing. I'd love to share things I learned in my classes, and as a student leader in student organizations.
Thanks for hiring me. I promise, if we work together, I won't let you down.
Your newest employee
-- Feel free to copy, paste and personalize--
In the larger conversation about Servant Leadership
as both a leadership philosophy and way of life, I'm realizing that most of us have some very strong fears that prevent us from fully taking the plunge.
So I wanted to take some time and throw out a few core, foundational beliefs
that someone needs to have in order to make the leap into servant leadership.
Here are the four things you must believe to become a Servant Leader:
1. You are not the center of the world.
As Richard Rohr
writes in his book, Adam's Return
, men who are initiated into a broader community learn this lesson through a rite of passage, whether that be an actual initiation rite, military experience, or extreme challenge. I'm sorry to tell you, but life is not about you- your happiness, joy, development, or success. There is a larger thing going on, and you and I need to jump into the flow.2. Your needs will be met
, even as you focus on meeting the needs of others. Oftentimes I resist being a servant leader because I have real, legitimate, unmet needs. If I focus on meeting the needs of others, what will happen to mine? Trust me, your needs WILL be met, as
you seek the meet the needs of others. 3. You have something to offer.
You have a unique voice, perspective, insight, and value that must be shared for others. To be a servant leader, you need to believe that you are valuable and your contribution is necessary. 4. You will be promoted.
I don't necessarily mean promoted positionally, I mean promoted in terms of street cred, trust, stature and maturity. Seeking to serve others and add value to their lives will always come around and build your own reputation as a person of value. Many times people resist servant leadership because they're afraid that their individual contribution will be overshadowed by the contribution of the people they're helping to be successful. But, as Ken Blanchard says, we must learn to seek the praise from an audience of One, the One who sees you, knows you, and is able to lift you up.
Now imagine with me the potential of not just one or two people acting and living as servant leaders, but an entire organization, or perhaps an entire generation
. Southwest Airlines
is known as a unique corporate culture bent towards servant leadership. It shows, when former CEO Colleen Barrett said, "When we have employees who have a problem -- or have employees who see a passenger having a problem -- we adopt them, and we really work hard to try to make something optimistic come out of whatever the situation is".
Did you notice that? When their employees or customers have problems, the culture responds by adopting their problems as their own, rather than firing, relegating or ignoring.
Which one(s) do you need to believe, in order to become someone known as a servant, someone who influences primarily through serving and seeking to meet the needs of others?
I have been noticing a problem with college students and young professionals- friends of mine. They want to find the right fit for their passions and abilities, but they aren't bringing passion to their current classes, assignments, or work.
Much of the work that we have when we're in school or early in our careers is about repetition, fundamentals, and earning our way. It's boring, frankly, and doesn't match the big dreams we have.
When we're bored (ie. giving C- effort), we tend to complain, check-out, and criticize. And........try to sell ourselves as marketable and high potential. That's an integrity problem, and a career problem.
The question is: are you giving A+ effort with your current assignments?
There's a spiritual principle from the scriptures that speaks directly to this: "He who is faithful with little things is also faithful with greater things"
It also reminds me of something that author and marketing genius Seth Godin
says in his book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
“Transferring your passion to your job is far easier than finding a job that happens to match your passion.” It just doesn't work. So:Don't look for another job until you can do your current job with excellence and pasion.Don't do another assignment or group project without A+ effort. It's not just about getting the right next job. It's about doing the right thing. It's about creating something meaningful today, doing something meaningful. It's about respecting your professor, teammate, and yourself. And most importantly, it's about honoring the gifts and talents God has given you.
I can't think of anyone that I know who would want to work in a job that they hate. No one. Every single person (especially young people), want to enjoy what they do.
But as a friend of mine asked the other day, "How much of my job should I like?" Great question, and I have a few questions to think about in response:
- Gauge the level: How much of your job do you not enjoy? As a former mentor of mine used to say, "Every good job has rent to pay." In other words, there are always going to be parts of work that are annoying, boring, maybe mindless or meaningless. Deal with it! You need to search your heart and figure out how much is too much...
- Check your competence: Why don't you like parts of your job? Could it be that you don't like what you're doing because you don't know how to do it well? Personally, I don't really like doing things day in and day out that I'm not good at, and it bums me out. Are there things you can do to grow in competence? Training, asking for help, getting a performance review, finding a mentor?
- Perspective Shift: Consider that God wants you to see your work differently. Perhaps He's inviting you to be on a secret mission with Him to bless the people around you, creatively and unexpectedly. What can you do to bring life into the dull hours at work?
- Reality Check: college often does a disservice to young people- teaching them skills that are helpful for executive leadership and then sending students into entry level work. Gen Y folks want to do meaningful work, be recognized for their contributions, and grow quickly. But, the reality in organizations is that you will be entrusted with more leadership after you show consistent effort in the little things. Do you need a reality check and realize that you won't be in your dream job for awhile?
Finally, I think it's crucial that you like what you do. I think it's important to God that you find joy and meaning in work. After all, work was his idea. If you really don't like your job, is it you? Or is it the job? If it's you, then change. If it's the job, then find something else...